Restless Leg Syndrome affects 2-3% of the adult population in the United States(1). That's more than 5-million individuals who deal with this involuntary but overwhelming urge to move their legs. Sometimes, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) can be painful.
My RLS started when I was in my twenties. It got so bad at one point my husband moved to the sofa many nights just so I wouldn't kick his shins constantly. If you've never experienced Restless Leg Syndrome it can be a nightmare for spouses because not only does the urge come to move your legs while you're awake but while you're sleeping too. Besides that, RLS is typically worse at night. There's nothing like crawling into your nice warm bed, snuggling up to the Hubs, when, as your almost asleep……you have to move your legs or your jump out of your skin.
Image by : Greyerbaby
Frustrations can run high for couples when one spouse deals with RLS. Lack of sleep and sometimes separate sleeping arrangements can add stress to the relationship when RLS flares up. Then, mysteriously, it could subside for weeks or even months before it returns to ruin a good night's sleep again.
That Pill Does What?
Not long after I was married my doctor recommended Requip. Requip is used to treat Parkinson's Disease and Restless Leg Syndrome I thought I'd found relief until I read the side effects(2), which included:
- Increased sexual urges (okay, maybe not so bad in Brad's eyes)
- Unusual urges to gamble (I need my money, thanks anyway)
- worsening or no improvement in symptoms (my luck!)
- hallucinations (I already talk to myself too much)
- May cause you to fall asleep during daytime activities like driving or working (yikes!)
Now, I know side effects don't always occur but I wasn't willing to take the chance with the above as part of the mix. Another option was Rotigotine which mimics dopamine which helps settle the legs. I didn't like the sides effects of Rotigotine either.
Natural Ways to Deal with Restless Leg Syndrome
I decided to look at some natural alternatives to deal with my Restless Leg Syndrome. While there's no real cure for RLS, there are things that can help you deal with the sensations that come with a flare up. Another unusual thing, at least for me, is that no one treatment has helped me every time I have a flare-up. Sometimes one thing works right away, the next time I need to try two or three things to find relief. Here's my list of RLS weapons:
- Walking – taking a leisurely walk (not fast paced) in the evenings
- Increased iron intake – supplementation or through spinach and red meat consumption
- Get up – sometimes laying in bed deal with it makes it feel worse. If I get up and move around for 10 or 15 minutes, sometimes I can go lay down and the flare has passed.
- Increased magnesium intake – My ND recommended I take magnesium daily. I like this spray.
- Don't over do it – when I'm really tired or we've had a long day being active (moving, theme park, etc) it tends to be worse.
- Rhus Tox – homeopathic remedy helps when I'm overall restless and RLS is flaring
- Don't sit too long – this is hard for me since I work from home but I try to get up and walk around while on the phone
My Surprise “Cure”
One night after a long day dealing with parenting struggles I couldn't sleep. I was overall restless and then the legs started going. I was too tired to get out of bed so I laid there for ten or fifteen minutes praying and planning the next day while managing my urge to twitch. Then….he rolled over…..
Seems The Hubs was in the mood for some hanky-panky.
After our escapade of love, I laid in bed waiting to fall asleep, snuggled in close with my hunny and ……the legs weren't jumping.
Sex, people! Sex is probably the best natural remedy for treating restless leg syndrome!
Why Sex Helps RLS
Besides a fun way to relieve RLS symptoms, sex really does have valid reasons for reducing the discomfort of Restless Leg Syndrome. Sexual intercourse and orgasm increase dopamine levels(3) in the brain. As mentioned earlier, drugs that increase dopamine or mimic dopamine have been shown to help RLS. Hello! I'll take an orgasm over a pill any day…and there's no copay!
So there you have it, my surprising (and delightful) way to relieve Restless Leg Syndrome. Enjoy!
Do you or someone on you know struggle with RLS? How do you manage it?